I wrote this letter to the Augusta Margaret River Times editor in April 2011 in response to a story that Nola Marino would be returning to Parliament without taking the Poll of sentiment on “gay marriage”, despite being obliged to do so by parliamentary vote.
It led to the paper running a story about my opinions, and opened a whopping can of worms in the South West…
Week after week, the “for” and “against” letters piled in.
Pro gay marriage supporters recognised the issue as a civil rights issue – by denying a class of citizen equal rights the government is being inherently discriminatory.
The protestors, on the other hand, claimed it was a violation of God’s law. (God’s law is a separate matter to Australian law, as I point out in my reply – see Civil law versus God’s law – in the end, it’s humans that “count”.)
Nevertheless, herewith is the letter that started the whole shebang…
So, Nola Marino thinks Forrest consitutuents don’t want gay marriage, based purely on her “personal feelings”?
“Personal feelings” only come into it when a basic civil right is denied to our brothers, sisters, daughters and sons if they happen to be born gay, and wish to commit to their chosen life partner by way of marriage. When our family and community members are denied this right, “personal feelings” include anger and betrayal by a country that perpetuates discrimination against normal people who find love outside the traditional square.
The Marriage Act 1961 states that marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union between a man and a woman. It is a piece of law, written by humans for humans. It was written 50 years ago when society really was scared of gays. It can be changed to reflect the growing acceptance of homosexuality in Australia. Gays are human too, after all.
We’ve come a long way in removing barriers to discrimination against gays, especially since 1 July ’09 when same-sex couples became legally recognised as de-facto partners in Australia. This gave them the same superannuation, social security, health care and taxation rights as hetero de-factos. However, gays still can’t introduce their partner with that certain sparkle in their eye and say, “I’d like you to meet my HUSBAND/WIFE”…
Sure it’s a bit of paper, but for one segment of our society it is denied. That to me, is unfair. I’d like the future of our gay couples to be decided via a formal poll rather than the “personal feelings” of a politician. Ms Marino is after all, obliged by parliamentary vote to formally poll her constituents on this matter.